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When do we use the past continuous?

At the beginning of a story:
This morning, when I went out to get some milk, the sun was shining, the birds were singing, people were driving to work and walking to school…

To talk about something which happened at a particular moment in the past, often starting before that moment and continuing after it.

Example: What were you doing at 10 o’clock this morning?
At 10 o’clock this morning Craig was working on his computer.
Reza was having a shower.

I was making tea when Reza rang the bell. (compare with:”Reza rang the bell, he came in, I made tea, I took out the biscuits.”)

Use the present continuous when two actions are happening parallel to one onother in the past:

As I was making tea, Reza was telling me about his weekend.

While Reza was preparing the dinner, his girlfriend was watching TV.



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Politics and Government

politics – política (don’t forget that the word ‘politics’ has an ‘s’ in English)
politician – político (noun – the person)
political – político (adjective, “a political speech”)
policy – política, plan de acción
government – gobierno (coalition – coalición – a temporary alliance for combined action, especially of political parties forming a government.
“a coalition between Liberals and Conservatives”)
to govern – gobernar
party – partido
Conservative Party – partido conservador – right-wing – de derecha
(very right-wing = fascist – fascista
Labour Party – partido laborista – left-wing – de izquierda
very left-wing = communist
liberal (líberal) – liberal
Republican Party – partido republicano
Democratic Party – partido demócrata
to run for president (to run for office) – ser candidato a presidente
democracy (n) – democracia
democrat – demócrata
democratic (adj.) – democrático
to elect – elegir
to vote – votar


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Compound adjectives

The journey lasts three hours – It’s a three-hour journey
It’s a 10-kilometre trip – The trip is 10 kilometres
How to avoid personal questions

How to avoid personal questions

What kind of questions, and in what kind of situations, could be difficult, inappropriate and/or embarrassing?

filling in a form
applying for a service or product (online or face to face)
meeting someone for the first time and making small talk
job interviews



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The past perfect simple and continuous with special guest Mike Hardinge

What is the Past Perfect?

Use: The Past Perfect is the past before the past. When we are already talking about the past and we want to talk about an earlier past time.
It can be in a Simple or Continuous/Progressive form.


Something that happened before another action in the past. It can also show that something happened before a specific time in the past.
Focus tends to be on the completion of the action/state, not the continuity of it.

Form: had/ ’d + past participle (had eaten, had been, had forgotten, had seen etc)

Let’s see where the past perfect simple fits in. To do this we have to look at a much more ‘important’ tense ‘the past simple’.
The past simple forms the basis of a narrative; it gives us a sequence of events


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